SBD/August 3, 2012/Olympics

London Banks Taking Lower Profile On Olympics Hospitality Spend

The city of London's “high-rolling banking industry is rolling as low as possible” at the Summer Games, according to a front-page piece by Schaefer Munoz & Cimilluca of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The Olympics are “typically one of the biggest corporate schmoozefests on the calendar, with official sponsors and interlopers alike flashing the cash for the best tickets, best party venues and best celebrity guests.” Many banks and other companies “spent mightily four years ago in Beijing to show their clients a good time and increase their profile in China.” But this time around, banks are “under pressure to cut costs and avoid displays of wealth that will further inflame an already angry public.” Prestige Ticketing Marketing Dir Tony Barnard, whose company is the official corporate-hospitality provider of the London Games, said, "The uptake by banks has been much lower than we anticipated." But he added that demand from other sectors “has been robust and its inventory is nearly sold out.” Schaefer Munoz & Cimilluca report Lloyds Banking Group is “arguably in the trickiest position by virtue of its Olympic sponsorship.” The bank “didn't buy all of the several thousand tickets allocated to it in the original agreement.” The bank said, "The majority of our guests will travel to and from Olympic venues on public transport" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/3).
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